Exploring Poetry Groups … the Poetry Form

Courtesan in Her Boudoir

I’ve been fortunate to meet and work with many professional writers and artists from all genres – romance to western, horror to children’s, fantasy to non-fiction, photographers and artists. And poets. They all have one thing in common – a love for their art.

When you are done reading the blog by Shellie, please be sure to click on the rules for our haiku contest!

Welcome Shellie Enteen, poet.

By Shellie Enteen

One of the unexpected benefits of moving from Florida to Greenville, SC, six years ago was meeting a published English professor who had formed an ongoing poetry group. After hearing me read my work at a local coffee house, he invited me to join them. Five years later, the group of 10 is going strong and many of us are published on our own and also as a collective with Fruit of the Banyan Tree (Orchard Park Press, 2009).

A great feature of being in a dedicated poetry group such as this one is the supportive feedback given to each member. Each month, we study a poet and get to read what we’ve come up with. Engaging in this way spurs the creative juices to flow faster and with more confidence. And you are always exposed to new resources and inspiring ideas.

Despite having majored in English Literature at NYU and being very familiar with writing in sonnet form, one of the poetry group members introduced me to many other interesting poetic forms. That this group member is an Engineer makes her interest in this type of writing stand to reason both literally and metaphorically. She brings the information to the table and challenges us to produce one of our own.

Many of these forms go back to old European styles. They each require a certain number of lines, some rhyming, some repeating, in a fixed sequence. (A good online resource for poetry forms and how to write them is www.poets.org.) The first one she suggested is called the Triolet. Seven lines, some repeat, a certain rhyme pattern. My own attempt missed the exact formula but I was very satisfied with the effect nonetheless. I felt the inspiration of the form caused the following poem to be born:

To Hafiz

A waiting hole in the god’s flute

Seeks thick liddedKrishna’s blue kiss.

He’s paused…wooden instrument mute.

She tastes the ripe offering fruit,

Will his music ever begin?

A waiting hole in the god’s flute

Seeks thick lidded Krishna’s blue kiss.

Another form I tried was the Tritina. This one does not ask for rhymes at all but a choice of three words that will end three stanzas of three lines in a certain order and be used in the final, sum it up, sentence. With a true form poem it is typical to announce the form before the title as:


The Birth of Drama

Had detachment attended the show that began

as a fevered fantasy, staged within his head,

the reviews might have shortened the actor’s reach,

the dialogue’s delivery not been heard to reach

levels that rose and swelled while memory began

increasing his spotlight’s focus beyond range of a cool head.

Nothing entered from stage right to stop the bullet to her head

that propelled her life story’s potential to reach

a conclusion far sooner than imagined when it began.

When his plot began to reach for revenge, drama came hurtling out, head first.

Poetry forms like the Elizabethan sonnet and the Japanese haiku are more commonly known. Regarding Haiku there are several variations but the requirement is number of syllables per line, not word count or rhyme. The standard haiku format is three lines containing five, seven, and five syllables per respective line. The meaning should paint an evocative picture. Haiku has no title and usually no punctuation.
Here’s one of mine:

Thundering rainstorms
My garden singing life songs
In the key of green

In my own experience, working with forms is a two way street. A poem that wants to be born will frequently choose its own structure but there are times that the form itself, as with my attempt at Triolet, may call forth specific poetic imagery.

Learning more about poetry and getting feedback are definitely huge benefits of belonging to a poetry group. But I can’t ignore another important aspect for me; getting to know and share with people who have a deep common interest and who expand my own vision as they express in their own voice and unique point of view.

See more of Shellie’s work and samples from her volume, Journey to the Meaning of Love, at www.shelliewrites.com.

Haiku Contest Rules

A good poetry blog (with links to additional poets) suggested by a member of Shellie’s poetry group –


Here’s another –


Photo – Courtesan in Her Boudoir, Utagawa Toyokuni (1789-1825), Minneapolis Museum of Art, 2008 exhibit.


Filed under Guest Writers & Bloggers, Prose & Poetry, Special Events

8 responses to “Exploring Poetry Groups … the Poetry Form

  1. Great article. Were I a poet, I would certainly enter the contest. Followed Shellie’s lead here from Facebook. (I enjoy following Shellie. I am never disappointed.) It was nice to spend time … quiet, quality time … wandering around on a blog such as this. Especially enjoyed my visit to The Garden from your “bewildering” story link, Karen. Still smiling!

  2. Glad you enjoyed your time here. Thank you for stopping by. THE GARDEN was inspired by my mom who always wondered, “What do you suppose the bugs and the birds are thinking?”

  3. Great post, Karen. I very much enjoyed this. I love Haiku poetry, and I adore the example you posted. “In the key of green,” evokes such a vision in my mind. Lovely!

    ~Holden Robinson

  4. This post was ALL Shellie Enteen (www.shelliewritres.com). Thanks for stopping by! I hope you try the HAIKU CONTEST!

  5. Ack – the proofreader made a boo-boo – it’s http://www.shelliewrites.com

  6. Pingback: And the winner is … | Karen S. Elliott's Blog

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